Tag Archives: time

The Potter | Bible Gleanings – June 25-26, 2022

The coffee mug in your cabinet was not always shiny and smooth. It began as a wet lump of shapeless mud that was formed and fashioned into a cup. It was held in the hands of a proficient potter before it held your morning joe. He carefully sculpted the clay until it was just right. And because of his handiwork, the once-useless and deformed clay was transformed into something meaningful and beautiful. 

To achieve the desired shape, the potter adds and takes away from the clay chunk at times. The things it doesn’t need are removed, and the things it does need are added. The potter also spins his wheel at various speeds to get the splodge of dirt precisely perfect. Finally, the clay is polished and perfected by being heated in a fiery kiln. The clay needs time, fire, and the wisdom of a potter to become useful—there is no product without the process. 

And such is the precious metaphor in the Scripture describing the work that God is always doing within His children. “But now,” said Isaiah, “O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8). The Potter shapes His people on the wheel of sanctification, molding them into vessels that are “useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:21). He gives His saints what they need for the process of maturation to Christlikeness. Sometimes, He pinches off the besetting ways of the old life, and other times, He adds the water of His word to smooth away imperfections.

But the process cannot be rushed. It takes time to be shaped into a God-pleasing vessel. As the Scripture says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The fiery furnace of tribulation is also required to make one a beautiful masterpiece in God’s sight (1 Peter 1:6-7). The best thing believers can do is trust the wisdom of the Potter and, with humble submission, let Him work. “Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9)

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

The Book That Cleans | Bible Gleanings – Feb 5-6, 2022

Several years ago, Time Magazine published a segment titled The 25 Best Inventions of 2015, in which they listed a bevy of innovative inventions and cutting-edge gadgets that make the world a better place. Each gizmo and doodad enhances the quality of everyday life, but one invention stands above the rest: the Drinkable Book. Created by Theresa Dankovich, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, the Drinkable Book contains silver-infused pages that can be used to filter contaminated water. Just one page filters up to 100 liters of water, providing a cost-effective solution for impoverished communities who do not have access to clean drinking water. The book’s purifying pages ensure survival for people who would otherwise perish from bacterial infections and other deadly waterborne diseases—the book is literally life-saving.

There is another kind of Book that cleanses—one that may be found on the nightstand, the pulpit, or the pew: the word of the living God, the Bible. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Scripture contains sanitizing pages that filter the bacteria of evil from our lives. Each passage in God’s word is infused with sin-killing, iniquity-cleansing, wickedness-purifying truth that sanctifies us from sin unto God. That is why Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Without its disinfecting truth, we will suffer from sin-infections contracted from worldly corruption, heart-borne evils, and false teaching.

The human heart flows with the “springs of life” as Solomon wrote, but because the heart is also “desperately wicked,” it spews tainted water that toxically contaminates all of existence (Proverbs 4:23; Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore, we need the truth of Scripture to pierce our innermost being and expunge us of evil (Hebrews 4:12). It is only by His “precious and very great promises” that we are cleansed of defilement (2 Peter 1:4). Nothing but the “whole counsel of God” can flush the mind of the muck of error (Acts 20:27; cf. 2 Timothy 3:16). As the psalmist aptly confessed, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Psalm 119:9).

Filter your heart’s fountain with God’s word. Sift all ideas and teachings through the pages of Scripture before you drink them in. Clean off the dust from your Bible so God may use it to clean you. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (John 15:3, KJV).

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.

Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).

Abolishing Anger | Bible Gleanings – June 12-13, 2021

You’re a wild animal, and that’s why you get angry. That is the answer to anger according to Doug Fields, an acclaimed neuroscientist and author of several five-star books on mental health. “The human brain is hardwired for explosive violence,” he wrote. “We evolved [such] neural circuits for survival in the wild. We still need them.” The scientific world would have us believe that rage is a survival trait, embedded within us because of evolution. We breathe out hateful words, curse at slow traffic, and snap in fury because of human nature.

Well, the science is not entirely wrong, for even Scripture attests that we sin in anger because of human nature—sin nature, that is. Anger is not an animalistic evolutionary trait acquired from ancient ancestors, however. The reason for our bitterness, clamor, and rage is the evil nature inherited from our first parents, the first sinners—Adam and Eve. According to Jesus, we erupt in fury because of our sinful hearts (Matthew 5:21-22; Mark 7:20-23). You burn with resentment and blow up in madness thanks to your wicked nature, the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21).

The Bible is not silent on the serious repercussions of such uncontrolled anger. A blazing temper leads to many other sins: “A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression” (Prov. 29:22). Anger leaves you defenseless against spiritual attack: “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (Prov. 25:28). Angry outbursts result in regrettably foolish behavior: “A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated” (Prov. 14:17). Angry tantrums make you look like a fool: “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly” (Prov. 14:29).

To be sure, some anger is justified and completely natural. Righteous indignation is good. God is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). Jesus felt angry to the point of flipping tables when He learned that the temple became a wicked bazaar (Mark 11:15-19). And if you love and fear the Lord, you will hate evil (Psalm 97:10; Prov. 8:13).

However, anger must be properly dealt with to prevent a sinful outburst. And Scripture’s solution to anger is twofold: slow down and settle it.

First, slow down: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20). Take a breather. Pray. And think before you speak.

Secondly, settle it: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Eph. 4:26-27). Abolish anger immediately, before the day ends. God will give the grace necessary to overcome anger if you earnestly seek it.


  1. Fields, Doug. “The Science of Why People ‘Snap’ in Anger.” Time Magazine, Vol. 187, No. 2, January 25, 2016, page number unknown (it got cut off in printing). URL: https://time.com/4180286/the-science-of-why-people-snap-in-anger/

Bible Gleanings is a weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky. In the event that the column is not posted online, it is be posted for reading here.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English shepherd), and Dot (beagle).

You Are Enlightened (Eph. 1:9-10)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, on the 23rd day of September 2018, during the morning service:


profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with free Christian resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their two dogs, Susie and Aries.

Weekend Reflections: Time Management and Training Others

What you are about to read are my weekend reflections. Back a few weeks ago, I started doing this in a notebook for my own personal benefit. This isn’t a diary, trust me, I have a beard. But it is a time for me to reflect on the past week for the following purposes: so that I may contemplate on what most stood out to me Sunday through Friday; so that I can think on the biblical and practical lessons the Lord has taught me most recently; so that I can see what can be done more productively or differently; so that I can improve upon what I’m already doing; and so that I can encourage you in your own personal walk with Christ, or you area of ministry.  Til now I’ve been keeping these reflections to myself, but I’d like to share them with you today. These are some of the lessons the Lord has impressed upon me this past week.

Time Management and Productivity

We are called by God to be stewards. A steward is someone appointed to look after, manage, or supervise another’s property. We know from Scripture that everything in the earth is the Lord’s, and that He has called us to steward His property. So Christians are to be stewards of their talents, their finances, and also their time. All of these things which belong to the Lord. But perhaps the most difficult area of stewardship is our time, and managing it well. Paul writes in Ephesians 5:15-16, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (emphasis mine).

In today’s world, it is increasingly difficult to spend our time most efficiently – let alone spending that time honoring the Lord in what we do. Well, the Lord has been teaching me a few lessons for the past few weeks, and especially this past week. One of those lessons is this: faithful time stewardship today ensures faithful time stewardship tomorrow. Or put another way, faithful time stewardship yesterday ensures more faithful time stewardship today. If we spend our time well today, it always ensures that tomorrow’s time will be spent even better. 

Practically speaking, there are many things I’ve tried to do that have proved helpful in being a better steward of my own time. Knowing that if I spend my time well today I can spend it better tomorrow, I have implemented a few different habits that have certainly helped me. First, I’ve tried to wake up earlier and get to bed earlier. Waking up early is sort of a “love-hate” thing for me. I love the stillness of the morning, and I am as active as a carpenter’s pencil in the morning. But I have difficulty getting up at my first or second alarm. What helps me to wake up is to prepare my favorite breakfast the night before, and plan on doing at least one major thing that will get my blood pumping the next morning. That way, I’ve got something enjoyable to look forward to when I open my eyes in the morning. I know that I’ve got that delicious smoothie waiting to be enjoyed; I know that I’ve got at least 15 mins to run in my neighborhood as the sun rises. Of course, as a pastor, I work the same 9-3 hours as most everyone else. Those hours are not always spent at the office (which is my bedroom too), but they may be spent visiting, making calls, printing materials, or a host of other things. But no matter how busy I am during the day, I try to make it a priority to plan something enjoyable the night before, so that I can wake up ready to go. I mean, when did any of us stay in bed on Christmas morning anyway?

The second thing I’ve tried to do is ordering my daily tasks by importance and order. I’ll sit down on Sunday evening or Monday morning and write out everything I can perceive that needs to be done on what day(s) – appointments, sermon preparation, visitation, everything. And when I get those tasks written out, I will write a number to the left side of each task. This number indicates the order in which I need to accomplish the tasks. For example, if I’m heading to the church and I need to stop to make a visit, I’ll put a out by the visit and a out by my stopping by the church. That way, I can keep up with the order of things and not leave anything out. I also do this for the principle of doing first things first. If I get an unexpected interruption and I’m not able to complete some of the smaller, less important things, then I’m still okay. Why? Because I completed the first things first. The things that are most important in my to-do list need to be done first. That way I’m not having anxiety about completing those important tasks, and my less-important tasks can have as much flexibility as they need.

Training Others to Teach Scripture

When God gives us a task to complete, or when He calls us to a particular task or ministry, we are to do those things and fulfill those ministries with excellence because it is the Lord’s work that we are doing. Paul says that we are to give ourselves fully to the Lord’s work: “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58, ESV). So for this reason and many others, all that we do should be done with excellence of service—whether it is teaching Sunday School, cleaning the worship center, setting up the student area, or helping a child make a craft.

In order to complete those tasks, and fulfill our ministries, we need to be properly educated and trained to do so. One of the best ways that excellence is ensured in our service is being well-trained at our vocation. Because of this, I try to emphasize the urgency and need for training in all areas of ministry at our church. If you teach the children, you need to know how to teach them and answer their questions. If you work the soundboard, you need to know how to monitor its diverse mechanics. If you teach students, you need to know how to teach in a way that is relevant to this stage in their life.

In the area of Sunday School, it’s been a pleasure for me to train a young man to eventually teach our high school students’ class. He’s been making a lot of progress as we’ve talked, and as I’ve given him a plethora of materials for his training. It’s taken more time out of my daily pastoral ministry duties, but it has been worth it and it will be worth it. I would encourage you to do the same, because we need to take time to invest in our church members, we need to disciple them, teach them new skills, and help them discover their calling or spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Pet. 4:10-11).

Pray for this young man, and do the same in your churches – our teachers especially need to be continually refreshed so that they can refresh others. They need to be well-trained so that they too can one day train another to take their place. It’s the biblical model for enlisting and recruiting people to serve in various ministries: “and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2, ESV).

As an aside, here are the best resources I’ve ever used or passed on to our Bible teachers:

1. Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

2. How to Study the Bible by Robert M. West.

3. 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert L. Plummer.

4. The ESV Study Bible by Crossway.

5. The Complete Bible Answer Book by Hank Hanegraaff.